The Faeries of Sadieville by Alex Bledsoe fantasy book reviewsThe Faeries of Sadieville by Alex Bledsoe fantasy book reviewsThe Faeries of Sadieville by Alex Bledsoe

The Faeries of Sadieville (2018) is the final novel in Alex Bledsoe’s TUFA series. You’ll get more out of it if you’re read the previous TUFA novels, but it’s not strictly necessary to do so since each novel features a stand-alone story with overlapping characters.

In The Faeries of Sadieville we meet two graduate students who are dating each other; Justin, from the English department, is studying how folk music came to Appalachia, and Veronica is getting a Masters in parapsychology from the psychology department. (Excuse me for just a moment while I interrupt this review to put on my psychology professor hat, slip behind the podium, and declare with authority that no self-respecting psychology department in the United States offers any degree in parapsychology. Also, psychology grad students do not consult Tarot cards. Thank you… and one last thing, while I’m here: I’m not sure why Justin is studying in the English department. Music, history, or anthropology would make more sense. I am finished now. Sorry.)

When Justin’s mentor, Dr. Adams, dies unexpectedly, he and Veronica are asked to help the English department by going through all the stuff in Doc’s office. When they stumble upon an old silent film showing what appears to be a real fairy in an old mining town that has disappeared from the maps, they are intrigued, and Justin decides to research the event and turn it into his master’s thesis. This involves traveling to Cloud Country, meeting the characters we know from previous TUFA novels, solving a historical mystery, and getting mixed up with some frightening supernatural events. There are numerous flashbacks as Bledsoe takes us back in history to witness key Tufa milestones first-hand.

I thought The Faeries of Sadieville was a lovely and appropriate ending to the TUFA series. It ties all of the previous stories together, gives us some answers and explanations about the Tufas’ history (Where did they come from? Why are they here? Why are there two clans? Where did the name “Tufa” come from?) and leaves us with a satisfying sense of understanding and closure without removing all of the intriguing mystery from these strange people.The Faeries of Sadieville by Alex Bledsoe

Like the previous stories, The Faeries of Sadieville continues to celebrate the beauty and power of music. This has been a recurring theme throughout the series and Bledsoe is at his best when plucking that string. It also celebrates folklore, family, and the gorgeous scenery of Appalachia without neglecting to address some of the uglier historical (and current) realities of life in that area (e.g., racism, intolerant religious fundamentalism, and poor working conditions for miners).

The Faeries of Sadieville is a must-read for fans of the TUFA stories. I’ve been listening to the Blackstone Audio’s versions. I always love Stefan Rudnicki’s performances. Due to his deep voice, he has a limited number of acceptable female voices, but he makes up for this with his vibrant performance. This book is 10 hours long.

Published April 10, 2018. Charming and lyrical, The Fairies of Sadieville continues Alex Bledsoe’s widely-praised contemporary fantasy series, about the song-wielding fairy descendants living in modern-day Appalachia. “This is real.” Three small words on a film canister found by graduate students Justin and Veronica, who discover a long-lost silent movie from more than a century ago. The startlingly realistic footage shows a young girl transforming into a winged being. Looking for proof behind this claim, they travel to the rural foothills of Tennessee to find Sadieville, where it had been filmed. Soon, their journey takes them to Needsville, whose residents are hesitant about their investigation, but Justin and Veronica are helped by Tucker Carding, who seems to have his own ulterior motives. When the two students unearth a secret long hidden, everyone in the Tufa community must answer the most important question of their entire lives — what would they be willing to sacrifice in order to return to their fabled homeland of Tír na nÓg?

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  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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